Credit cards that are linked to airline frequent flier programmes are very common. Most airlines have partnered with either American Express or banks to offer a range of American Express, Visa or MasterCard cards that give you airline points every time you use them.
In the Irish market, however, there hasn’t been much on offer. RyanAir was offering some kind of card in the past with MBNA, though with MBNA not offering credit cards anymore that obviously came to an end.
Personally I’ve had an American Express card for several years which gives me points which I can then convert to airline or hotel points, but there was no option to get a card from any of the major airlines operating out of Dublin, or through any of the main Irish banks. Aer Lingus are changing that with the announcement of the Aer Credit Card.
The card, which is MasterCard branded, is issued by Bank of Ireland and can be linked to your Aer Lingus Aer Club account. Not only will you be able to earn Avios with your spend, but you’ll also get a few other perks that are quite attractive:
Each year, customers who sign up to the card will receive: two free return fares to Europe (1), two fast track and priority boarding passes(2), two lounge passes(3), Worldwide Multi-trip Family Travel Insurance, including winter sports(4). Customers can collect 1 Avios for every €1 spent on Aer Lingus products and services and 1 Avios for every €4 spent on all other transactions(5).
Unfortunately while the perks are very attractive there is a downside. The card will cost you €7.99 a month plus the standard government duty of €30 a year, so all in it’s over to €100 a year to have it. (Edit: my calculations are terrible and I somehow thought that it was close to €200!)
Is it worth it?
If you don’t have status with an airline that grants you lounge access or fast track through security then it might be of interest. If you’re a frequent flier with Aer Lingus, or any other major airline, you’ll probably have both lounge access and the fast track access. However being able to easily earn Avios with your daily shopping is something that will surely attract some consumers.
If you already bank with Bank of Ireland you can switch over to this new card, but if you don’t you’ll need to open an account with them. Full details are on their site here.